Modern Healthcare Source | Comments courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
Perhaps a little bit of a mixed-bag for some telehealth services, but overall, seems that the extension of the telehealth services for emergency department visits, and the hint that those provisions may become permanent, may help the role of telemedicine in EMS and patient navigation.
The final rule also contains coverage for telehealth services provided in a patient’s home.
The use of video telemedicine for physicians to supervise other healthcare providers – could also be beneficial for an EMS integration strategy.
CMS signs off on physician fee schedule changes
December 01, 2020
CMS on Tuesday signed off on Medicare's 2021 physician fee schedule, giving providers just a month to prepare for the changes.
The final rule permanently allows Medicare providers to use telehealth to carry out home visits for so-called evaluation and management services and some visits for people with cognitive impairments. It also temporarily continues telehealth services for emergency department visits and other services with an eye toward making them permanent, according to a CMS fact sheet.
"Telehealth has long been a priority for the Trump Administration, which is why we started paying for short virtual visits in rural areas long before the pandemic struck. But the pandemic accentuated just how transformative it could be," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.
According to CMS, more than 24.5 million of Medicare's 63 million beneficiaries and enrollees received a Medicare telemedicine service during the public health emergency. The agency expanded the telehealth services rural enrollees can receive at healthcare facilities. During a call with reporters, Verma reiterated that Congress needs to change federal law to permanently allow non-rural beneficiaries to receive telehealth benefits or for Medicare beneficiaries to receive telehealth services at home. She noted the agency will study the safety, quality and cost of remote patient monitoring and virtual physician supervision.